2013 NBA Eastern Conference Playoffs Series Preview: Miami Heat vs. Milwaukee Bucks

By Cody Williams

82 games have been played, the regular season is over, and now it’s time for the NBA Playoffs to get underway. For it being the first round of the playoffs, there are surprisingly a ton of intriguing matchups that will be going down. However, one series that doesn’t exactly fall into that category is the matchup in the Eastern Conference between the top seeded Miami Heat and the eighth seeded Milwaukee Bucks.

The Bucks have been a wildly inconsistent team this season and are the only team in the playoffs with a winning percentage under .500, finishing the year with a 38-44 record. Now they are about to face off with the defending champs in the Heat, a team that hasn’t slowed down this year after last year’s success. This year for Miami included a 27-game winning streak, winning games even when their starters were resting, and becoming just the 13th team in NBA history to win 66 games in a season.

Miami and Milwaukee met four times during the regular season, the Heat winning three of those games. Despite grabbing one win in the regular season, the Bucks are just completely outmatched in almost every category. Comparing their offenses, the Heat have the highest offensive rating in the NBA, averaging 110.3 points per 100 possessions. The Bucks averaged just 100.9 points per 100 possessions, despite playing at a faster pace than the Heat.

The Heat’s offense has been unreal this season, most notably with their efficiency. Miami leads the league in field goal percentage, shooting 49.6 percent from the field and has the second best team three-point percentage in the league at 39.6 percent. Contrarily, the Bucks have the 27th most efficient offense in the league, shooting 43.5 percent from the field as a team.

It doesn’t get any better for the Bucks on the other side of the ball, either. The Heat allow just 100.5 points per 100 possessions while Milwaukee allows 102.3 points per possessions. Miami even has a better rebounding rate than the Bucks and that’s one of the weaknesses of the Heat.

None of those things even bring into account the matchup problems that the Heat present for the Bucks. Brandon Jennings has a slight advantage for Milwaukee over Mario Chalmers, but that’s about it for the Bucks. There’s no way that Monta Ellis and Ersan Ilyasova can contain LeBron James and Dwyane Wade. Even Defensive Player of the Year candidate Larry Sanders is going to have trouble guarding Chris Bosh as Bosh can draw him outside of the paint.

All in all, it really seems like the Bucks are a team that’s likely to get swept by this Heat team. It’s a possibility that Ellis, Jennings or Ilyasova could get hot and the Bucks could sneak a game away from Miami, considering the streakiness of those three players. Even if that were to happen, though, it’s hard to imagine them winning more than one game in this series. This one is going a maximum of five games with the Heat moving on.

Cody Williams is a Senior NBA Writer with Rant Sports. Follow Cody on Twitter @TheSizzle20 and like his Facebook page.

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